Balkan Models have released two limited edition decal sets in 1:72 scales that cover several Balkan-operated Hinds and Hueys.
#BM-7206 Mi-24 Balkan Hinds.
“After the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia in 1991/92, air forces of the newly independent states of Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia purchased various numbers of MIL Mi-24 helicopter gunships and used them in combat. Croatian air force was the first to purchase Mi-24’s in 1993 and had used them in combat in 1995. They were all retired in late 1990s. Serbian air force operated two Mi-24s against KLA fighters during Kosovo war in 1998/1999. Macedonia was the last Balkan state to buyMi-24s and had used them in combat during the Albanian insurgency in 2001. Even after 4 decades MIL Mi-24 helicopter gunships are still considered to be stable and efficient weapons systems although they’re now nearing obsolescence. Cca. 60 air forces all over the world are still known to operate Mi-24s of various models and some are still flying anti-guerrilla operations against various insurgent group” (Source: Balkan Model’s booklet)
The set covers the following subjects:
#BM-7208 Mi-24 Balkan Hueys.
- Mi-24V JSO (“Jedinica za specijalne operacije”, Special Ops Unit, Serbia), Kosovo, 1999;
- Mi-24V (H-310) HRZ (“Hrvatsko ratno zrakoplovstvo”, Croatian Airforce);
- Mi-24V MAF 201. POHE (“Protivoklopna helikopterska eskadrila”, Anti-AMV Helicopter Squadron, Macedonian Airforce), No.201, Petrovac, 2001;
- Mi-24V MAF 201. POHE (“Protivoklopna helikopterska eskadrila”, Anti-AMV Helicopter Squadron, Macedonian Airforce), No.202, Petrovac, 2001;
- Mi-24V MAF 201. POHE (“Protivoklopna helikopterska eskadrila”, Anti-AMV Helicopter Squadron, Macedonian Airforce), No.206, Petrovac, 2001;
- Mi-24V MAF 201. POHE (“Protivoklopna helikopterska eskadrila”, Anti-AMV Helicopter Squadron, Macedonian Airforce), No.207, Petrovac, 2001.
“Bell Helicopters is one of the most renowned helicopter developers and manufacturers. The company was founded in 1930s and ever since has produced a huge number of the iconic military as well as civil aviation helicopters. Their most famous rotorcraft is Bell-205 or UH-1 HUEY. In the former Yugoslav republics, these helicopters were widely used for both military and civil purposes. They have proved to be a great success under different working conditions” (Source: Balkan Model’s booklet)
The set brings six Hueys:
- Bell 212, YU-HCA, No. 5709, Serbian Police (ex Special Ops), Surčin Air Base;
- Bell UH-1H, VF-1805 (ex 65 09934), RZiPO VF, ex Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Air Force, Rajlovac Airbase, 1999;
- Bell 412, No. H2-35, 15. HEB, Slovenian Airforce, Cerklje Airbase;
- Bell 212, Croatian Police, Lučko Airbase;
- Bell 212, Z3-HHB, Macedonian Police, “Jastrebovi” Helicopter Unit, Idrizovo Airbase;
- Bell UH-1D, No. 321, Macedonian Airforce, Petrovac Airbase.
Both sets are accompanied by a multipage and colorful booklet that explains the main features of the subjects included in the set. The painting cross-reference chart has become one of the most recognizable and cherished features of the Balkan Model’s decal sets. The overall print quality is very good and with sharp colors, but I noticed some decals to be slightly out of register (for instance, Macedonian flags in the Hind set). Although I don’t see the point behind the decision to include the gray-colored camouflage patches in the Hinds set (If you can paint the rest of the complicated camo pattern, the inclusion of the patches won’t make the hassle much easier!), the modeler will surely benefit from a selection of highly interesting subjects. Having in mind the popularity of Hinds and Hueys, it seems to me that the Balkan Model’s decisions are marketwise and thoughtful. Yet, although the sets may not be counted among their best executed sets, they are still quite interesting and may inspire you to try something different with your Hind or Huey.
The list of Balkan Models distributors can be found here
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